After a year of fragile and uneven recovery, global economic growth started to decelerate on a broad front in mid-2010 and this slower growth is expected to continue into 2011 and 2012. The United Nations baseline forecast for the growth of world gross product (WGP) is 3.1 per cent for 2011 and 3.5 per cent for 2012, which is below the 3.6 per cent estimated for 2010 and the pre-crisis pace of global growth.
Weaknesses in major developed economies continue to drag the global recovery and pose risks for world economic stability in the coming years. The unprecedented scale of the policy measures taken by Governments during the early stage of the crisis has no doubt helped stabilize financial markets and jump-start a recovery. However, overcoming the structural problems that led to the crisis—and those that were created by it—is proving much more challenging and will be a lengthy process. This contrasts with the strong GDP growth in many developing countries and economies in transition, which has contributed more than half of the total expansion of the world economy since the third quarter of 2009.
The report highlights the continued challenge posed by high unemployment rates in many economies and outlines a number of risks and uncertainties for the economic outlook such as a premature withdrawal of policy stimulus, increased exchange rate volatility and a renewed widening of global imbalances. Against this background, several policy challenges are discussed in greater detail, including the optimal design of fiscal policies as well as the coordination between fiscal and monetary policies, the provision of sufficient support to developing countries in addressing the fallout from the crisis and the coordination of policy measures at the international level.
World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) is a joint product of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the five United Nations regional commissions. It provides an overview of recent global economic performance and short-term prospects for the world economy and of key global economic policy and development issues. One of its purposes is to serve as a point of reference for discussions on economic, social and related issues taking place in various United Nations entities during the year.